How much time will the Kealohas spend in prison? It depends

How much time will the Kealohas spend behind bars?

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha has already spent 45 days behind bars.

That time that will be credited once she is sentenced for obstruction and conspiracy on Oct. 7.

Kealoha was ordered detained and legal experts believe that’s a sign the judge sees her as the ringleader of the public corruption scandal.

Still, it’s difficult to determine exactly how much time she and her husband, ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha, and two other police officers will serve for framing an innocent man for a mailbox theft.

The federal sentencing guidelines is based on a points system. The more points you have, the longer your sentence. And the judge has discretion.

Obstruction starts with 14 points. That equates to a sentence of 15-21 months. But the long list of enhancements could mean more than five times that number.

If the judge finds there was substantial interference in the administration of justice that adds three points.

Kealoha will likely be seen as having what’s called an aggravating role, as the organizer of the conspiracy. That tacks on another four points.

Abuse of position ― because she was a high ranking deputy prosecutor and the rest are police officers ― also adds two points.

Other increases the judge will consider include a vulnerable victim, because one of the victims was Katherine Kealoha’s elderly grandmother.

Add perjury and other bad behavior to the list and legal experts believe Katherine could serve about a decade behind bars.

“She’s going to be Aunty Kathy in the federal system for a long time,” legal expert Michael Green said. He believes Louis Kealoha could get slightly less, but will still see significant time in prison.

“You don’t get a reduction for being stupid," Green says. "Louis, don’t make any plans for a few years.”

In the federal system, accepting responsibility for your crimes helps.

None of the defendants did; they all went to trial.

“Some cases are really easy to figure out, this is a lot harder because of all the issues of all these special enhancements, the points that keep adding up,” said Alexander Silvert, of the federal public defender’s office.

Even with all the calculations, Silvert says U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright could add even more. “Judge Seabright can decide to upwardly depart and give a worse sentence than the guidelines call for," he said.

HPD Officer Bobby Nguyen and Lieutenant Derek Hahn are expected to get less time than the Kealohas but they’ll still get several years in prison, according to both Silver and Green.

Bobby Nguyen and his attorney, Randy Hironaka leave federal court
Bobby Nguyen and his attorney, Randy Hironaka leave federal court

A probation officer will soon issue a draft pre-sentence report to both the government and the defense attorneys.

The attorneys could argue for the removal of points while the government could argue for even more.

The judge will get a final, pre-sentence report about two weeks before sentencing.

Louis Kealoha will be sentenced on Oct. 14, Hahn on Oct. 21, and Nguyen on Oct. 28.

Derek Hahn and attorney Birney Bervar leave federal court
Derek Hahn and attorney Birney Bervar leave federal court

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